AWS Announcements at a Glance: The Highlights from AWS in September 2020

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The progress never stops, as September offers us another slate of AWS announcements about the latest advanced technologies behind cutting-edge solutions, along with the news that for the 10th year in a row, Gartner has named AWS as a Cloud Leader in their Infrastructure & Platform Services Magic Quadrant.

This month’s highlights include Amazon Redshift support for 100K tables in a single cluster, AWS SSO with new API and AWS CloudFormation support, usability improvements for the AWS Management Console, Amazon CloudWatch monitoring of Prometheus metrics from Container environments, and AWS X-Ray anomaly detection-based actionable insights in preview. As usual, what follows isn’t a comprehensive list of every AWS announcement made this month, but is instead a hand-picked selection of those most applicable for enterprise thought leaders working to drive cloud adoption and efficiency within their organizations.

Amazon Redshift now supports 100,000 tables in a single cluster

Up until the time of this announcement there was a unique limitation with Amazon Redshift only supporting 20,000 tables within certain clusters inclusive with DC2.8XL, DS2.8XL, RA3.4XL, and RA3.16XL node types. Now, Amazon Redshift supports up to 100,000 tables in a single cluster for these node types! This means that customers no longer have to split tables across multiple clusters and store them in S3, greatly simplifying architecture.

This new capability is automatically enabled for all supported node types for existing and new clusters. There is no need to change workloads, data ingestion, or applications to leverage this feature. User-defined temporary tables along with temporary tables created by Amazon Redshift during query processing or system maintenance can take advantage of this limit while views cannot.

For more information, check out the AWS post.

AWS Single Sign-On adds account assignment APIs and AWS CloudFormation support to automate multi-account access management

AWS has now added new account assignment APIs and AWS CloudFormation support for AWS Single Sign-On (SSO). New functionality has been added to AWS Single Sign-On, allowing you to now automate access to AWS organization accounts via APIs and AWS CloudFormation.

One advantage of this is that it allows you to build automation to create and update permissions that align to job functions.

You can then assign these permissions to users and groups granting them access to their accounts. Another great advantage is that you can now automate account assignments as you build new accounts through AWS CloudFormation. Finally, you can also retrieve permissions for auditing and governance purposes as well. APIs can be used to decode user and group names from the UIDs that appear in AWS CloudTrail accounts.

Learn more about this update on the AWS blog post.

Usability Improvements for AWS Management Console now available

AWS launched some interesting improvements for the AWS management console. Included in these improvements are:

  • Refreshed and Responsive Navigation Header and Footer
  • Easier way to add/remove services to your favorites list
  • Increase in number of services you see in “Recently visited section”
  • Navigation access via keyboard (depending on browser support)
  • Moved “Resource Groups” to “Management & Governance” (Under “Services” menu)

This is a great set of ease-of-use enhancements for those who need to get into the console to quickly manage select items.

To learn more about the improvements, check out the AWS information page. You can also experience these improvements by visiting the AWS Management Console.

Amazon CloudWatch now monitors Prometheus metrics from Container environments

Amazon has now given Amazon CloudWatch the ability to monitor Prometheus metrics from Amazon EKS, AWS Fargate, and Kubernetes clusters.  With this enhancement you can now automatically discover services for containerized workloads like AWS App Mesh and Java/JMX.

Another fantastic feature allows you to expose custom metrics on those services and ingest the Prometheus metrics in Amazon CloudWatch. Users can then monitor, troubleshoot, and get alarms on application performance degradation and failures faster while reducing the number of monitoring tools required by curating the collection and aggregation of Prometheus metrics.

Prometheus is a popular open source monitoring project that is commonly used for monitoring Kubernetes. The open source community has built over 150 plugins and defined a framework that DevOps teams can use to expose custom metrics to be collected using a pull-based approach from their applications.

Check out the AWS information page for more details.

AWS X-Ray launches anomaly detection-based actionable insights in preview

AWS has launched X-Ray insights for AWS X-Ray.  This new AWS X-Ray feature allows you to use anomaly detection to create actionable insights about any anomalies that get identified in an application. This allows you to proactively identify issues signaled by increases in fault rates of an application.

This is useful for determining the root cause of the issue, visualizing the upstream and downstream services affected by the anomaly, and understanding the impact on your end-users. You can also view the incident timeline to understand when the issue started and how it progressed.

To learn more about the feature, its use cases and how you can start utilizing it, check out the AWS blog post.

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